Rapid weight gain in children tied to higher blood pressure later

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 22, 2008

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Infants and toddlers who add pounds quickly tend to have higher blood pressures as adults, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Assn.

Researchers analyzed data on 679 participants in the Barry Caerphilly Growth study, a randomized controlled trial of infant nutrition from 1972 to 1974 in two small towns in Wales. Babies who were lighter at birth or gained weight rapidly in the first five months of life had higher systolic blood pressures as adults. Those who added significant weight from age 2 to 5 also had greater systolics.

The authors suggest that, although this study did not find that the rate of weight change affected an individual's long-term chance of developing hypertension, the increased risk for higher blood pressures may be important for population health.

"At an individual level, these changes would not be very important but in public health terms they are relevant," said Dr. Yoav Ben-Shlomo, lead author and professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol in England.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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